Prayer is Being in Conversation With God, So Why Aren’t We Listening?

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Often we see prayer as a time we go before God to give Him praise and thanks, ask forgiveness, and ask for His blessings and help in times of need, as well as making intercession for others. We speak AT God! But prayer is being in conversation WITH God. It is entering into the presence of the Lord. So why aren’t we listening at times? Learn how to ensure you are being a good partner in this conversation!

An image of a woman with long dark hair against a red background, holding her hand up to her ear like she is trying to hear something - a text overlay that says Prayer is Being in Conversation With God - So Why Aren't We Listening?

What is Prayer?

Yes, prayer is being in conversation with God but what is conversation?

Conversation is defined as an exchange of information, news, ideas. An exchange, by definition, is the giving of one thing and receiving of another.

Prayer is supposed to be a time we come before God and engage in an exchange. We give Him our adoration, confession, thanks and supplication, but then we are to listen to hear what He has to speak to us in return.

Numbers 7:89

“When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the Lord spoke to him.” NIV

The Lord spoke to Moses from the Mercy Seat, as He did with the High Priest who would enter into the Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

The Hebrew word for prayer used in the Old Testament is ‘tefillah’  and it signifies a union with God. It embodies worship, intercession and supplication but it also embodies communion. God not only listens to our prayers, but responds.

The verse above in Numbers indicates that God not only LISTENED to Moses, He SPOKE to Him from the Mercy Seat.

Prayer is Being in Conversation With God – So Why Aren’t We Listening Too?

Think about what a conversation with your spouse or your friend would be like if they just sat and talked to you for 30 minutes, poured out their heart to you, asked for help and guidance in a situation and then got up and walked away without allowing you to respond.

Maybe you had something significant to say to them that would help them, but they didn’t stop to hear what you had to say.

Yet many times, we do that very thing with God. I know I am guilty of that at times myself. I am not very good at being “still”.

We often make prayer like a fast food drive thru where we give our “order” and then go on our way hoping to HAVE it our way!

An image of a drive tru sign in the shape of an arrow pointing toward the right, set on a brick building and text that says "We often make prayer like a fast food drive thru where we give our "order" and then go on our way hoping to HAVE it our way!" by Diane Shirlaw-Ferreira

God doesn’t just want us to talk AT Him, He wants us to come before the Mercy Seat and speak WITH Him. Prayer is being IN conversation with God. We have an unbelievable privilege of speaking with the King of the Universe and hearing what He has to say.

But we often don’t listen.

Being in Conversation with God Beyond the Veil of the Temple

The veil of the Temple once separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and separated man from God.

When Jesus died on Calvary, the Bible says in Matthew 27:51:

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” ESV

An image of a split boulder and Matthew 27:51 ESV quoted

When Jesus uttered the words “It is Finished“, in the Greek it is “tetelestai“, that veil that kept man from having direct access to God, that veil that required a mediator to pass through on our behalf, that veil that sin kept between us, was torn.

What Did the Temple Veil Look Like?

It was not only torn in two but it was torn in two from top to bottom. This veil, according to the specifications of Solomon’s Temple, was likely 30 feet high and about 4″ thick!

Often when we hear the word “veil” we think of something very thin and somewhat transparent. That was not the case here.

This was not something that could not be ripped with human hands, let alone from top to bottom.

God made sure that it was undeniably Him who tore the veil in two. He made sure it was known that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross brought with it a redemption of mankind that now no longer separated us from God.

The veil represented sin and separation and the tearing of it represented sin’s defeat. Sin caused separation. Jesus restored relationship.

We now have access to approach the Mercy Seat directly and converse with God the way the High Priest only could once a year.

And yet we sometimes run in and out of the Holy of Holies with a quick petition and don’t engage in conversation.

But to give you something of an idea of the veil that was in the Mishkan or the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, there is this amazing video by Sarah Liberman which is filmed at the exact replica of the Mishkan in Israel.

Being in Conversation With God – Be Still and Know

Psalm 46:10 says

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” (NIV)

The King James says “Cease striving and know that I am God” because the original Hebrew says “Raphah”, which means “refrain, to be quiet, to let go” and “yada'” which means “to know, to be made known or become known.”

It basically can be translated to say “Refrain from making yourself known and let go and be quiet and know Me

In other words, stop trying to make it always about you! Be quiet! Sit and hear what I have to say to YOU! Loosely translated into today’s language….It’s not all about you Boo!

Be still…be quiet! Stop feeling the need to just talk, and know HIM and what HE has to say about your situation, your marriage, your health, your job! Be STILL and LISTEN!

IN Conversation With God – Seek Fellowship

We need to humble ourselves and go before Him and tell Him we don’t know WHAT to do about our situations but we are willing to just sit before Him in silence if need be and just wait for Him to speak into our lives.

We need to drop the flowery prayer and just tell it like it is! And we need to say sometimes “God, I really don’t know WHAT to say but I am just going to sit here before you right where I am and hear what you have to speak to me.”

Will you always hear something from Him right then and there? No. But when He knows you are open to hearing from Him, He WILL reveal answers to you in some way. It could be in a Scripture you read later, it could be through a word from a friend, or you may just hear from Him right then and there.

The important thing is He knows you are not just talking AT Him and you are open to receiving what He has to say.

Prayer is being in conversation with God; it’s not a monologue. Seek fellowship with Him and He will give that fellowship to you!

Enter into His presence beyond the veil that He tore for you and fellowship with Him!

How to Trust God When Bad Things Happen - Featured on Grace & Truth

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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  1. Love this post, Diane! I so agree! When I learned this 20 years ago, it revolutionized my prayer life and my spiritual life and growth as a whole. Amen!! Amen!!

  2. I have loved the image of the veil being torn since I learned the significance several years ago. It is hard for me to be still. My mind just goes and goes and goes. I’m so easily distracted when I try to sit in His presence and focus on Him and try to listen. It is definitely something I am aware I need to work on. Great post!

  3. “Prayer is a conversation with God, not a monologue.” Wise reminders here, Diane. It is only with listening do we hear and see His path before us. Happy to stop by from Crystal’s and to share this!

  4. Great post on prayer, Diane. How true prayer is often treated as a drive-thru order. I love the idea of remembering it’s an exchange with God. Talking and listening, real two-way communication. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Hey Diane. Just dropping in to say thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth and to let you know that I’ve chosen this post to be featured tomorrow on Candidly Christian.

  6. Wow this is so powerful . This just opened my eyes prayer IS a conversation with God and it’s about having a personal relationship with Him. We just need to slow down and learn to listen to His voice.